Virginia Opening Wildlife Management Area in Spotsylvania County - Needed Access
Virginia's latest Wildlife Management Area is a 2,900-acre forest tract in western Spotsylvania County. Using the state's allocation of funding via the federal Wildlife Restoration Program (Pittman-Robertson), the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries reportedly paid $9 million for the property, now known as Oakley Forest WMA. The funds generated by the program come from excise taxes on guns, ammunition and archery equipment.
Reports in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star said Spotsylvania placed the taxable value of the property at $5.6 million. The purchase price was, reportedly, based on what two licensed appraisers determined to be the market value of the property and the timber on it.
The rolling terrain, not far from some of historic Civil War battlefields, is known to have good deer and turkey populations, as well as a few bears. People with current Virginia hunting licenses are welcome to use the property at any time. Others must pay a daily $4 or $23 yearly fee for access. As an editorial aside, the Outdoors Rambler has long stated that Virginia needs to be investing money in preserving public access in the northeastern counties. Population increases here and land conversion from forested and agricultural to residential is severely limiting wildlife habitat and making it tough for hunters to find places to access. This latest purchase reflects another positive step in the right direction
The DGIF has the following information posted about access on its website.
"The Oakley Forest Wildlife Management Area is approximately 2,911 acres in size, located in western Spotsylvania County south of Todd’s Tavern. Oakley Forest WMA was part of a larger working farm that practiced wildlife and forest management for several decades. The habitats consist of a mosaic of upland mixed hardwood and pine forests containing with a few small areas of open fields, pastures, and old field habitats.
Special Regulations for Oakley Forest WMA
Properly licensed individuals may hunt, fish, and trap on Oakley Forest WMA. However, the following restrictions pertain to these activities on Oakley Forest WMA:
Sunday hunting is prohibited for all species except waterfowl
Dogs may not be used to hunt bear or deer
Deer of Either Sex may be taken from OCT 7-NOV 17 during the Early Archery Season (OCT 7-NOV 17), on NOV 11 during the Muzzleloader Season (NOV 4-NOV 17), and on NOV 25, DEC 2, and DEC 9-JAN 6 during the General Firearms Season (NOV 18-JAN 6)
Antlered deer must have four points one inch or longer on one side
During the General Firearms Season, legal weapons include rifles, pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders, and/or archery tackle
Hunting Seasons Specific to this WMA
Oakley Forest WMA is located along State Route 612 (Catharpin and Pamunkey Roads) and State Route 608 (West Catharpin Road), west of Todd’s Tavern.